Sebastián Weigandt: “At Azafrán we want to highlight the diversity of Argentine wine” 

Sebastián Weigandt

Sebastián Weigandt is one of the leading chefs on Mendoza’s thriving gastronomic scene. Since 2022 he has been Head Chef at Azafrán, which was recently honored in the Michelin Guide and is a beacon of excellence for Argentine cuisine. 

At Azafrán the eminently experienced chef offers an outstanding menu that highlights traditional ingredients from across the province such as algarrobo, tomatoes, trout and goat, prepared using innovative recipes and avant garde techniques.  

Sebastián Weigandt: delving into the past and the future 

Sebastián Weigandt

Weigandt is one of the drivers behind a project called D.O.P. which studies the ancient diets of the indigenous people of Mendoza, rediscovering raw materials, agroecological practices, cooking techniques and preserving the knowledge and biological and cultural heritage of the Cuyo region, an initiative involving a range of professionals from different disciplines.  

Through the multi-course menus “Paseo Azafrán” and “Expedición Azafrán”, the restaurant takes diners on culinary journey through the landscapes and flavors of Mendoza and Argentina with pairings created by the sommelier Adrián Yance featuring wines from a cellar that houses over 300 different Argentine labels from across the country’s different wine regions.  

Argentine wine, one of the stars at Azafrán

Sebastián Weigandt admits that it was wine and the initiative of local wineries that first brought tourists to Mendoza and introduced them to local cuisine. However, a new generation of chefs, of whom he is a member, have become attractions in their own right thanks to their talent and creativity.  

“The wine industry helped Mendoza’s gastronomic scene to grow, that was a key factor. Of course, tourists are also attracted by the stunning landscape and the chance to tour wineries and eat in incredible places. Recently, a new generation of chefs has appeared who are standing out for their great talent and attracting a lot more attention. There were always great cooks here, for example Pablo del Río – a pioneer at the restaurant Siete Cocinas – but it’s true that all these factors (wineries, tourism, a new wave of professionals) have combined to raise our profile.”  

Interview with Sebastián Weigandt

Sebastián Weigandt

Mendoza is Argentina’s pantry. Are Mendozans now doing justice to the rich bounty all around them?  

I think that the difference today is that we’re communicating more effectively. However, we’ve always known that we have extremely high-quality produce here. Today, we’re telling the world, which is a big challenge but we’re committed to it.  

Does Azafrán intentionally set out to promote Argentine wine?  

It’s not a set plan as such but we do allow ourselves the indulgence and pleasure of working with wines from all over Argentina, not just Mendoza. We want to show people not just that there are excellent wines from here, but from all across the country. Our concept is for diners to get a taste of Mendoza in their food but to sample from all over Argentina in their glass. Our cellar has wonderful projects from all over the different regions that you can enjoy at Azafrán. It’s also an opportunity to help diners to expand their palate and enjoy the great range of styles and labels that we’re producing right now.     

How does one interpret a wine when preparing a menu?  

Although we focus on the cuisine, and the story we want to tell with each dish, wine is a wonderful accompaniment. We don’t cook for the wine, but once the menu is drawn up, we take very seriously the choice of label that we think will especially enhance the experience of each course. 

I do believe that the wines that best go with the Azafrán menu are whites, and young, fruity reds that aren’t aged for very long. I don’t like heavy, oaky reds that have been aged at length.  

I love Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Torrontés, Bonardas, and Cabernet Francs but I choose the blends that bring out the identity and flavor of the grape and the terroir.  

About Sebastián Weigandt

Sebastián Weigandt

Inspired by his maternal grandmother, Sebastián Weigandt decided to study cookery. His career began in 2005 with the opening of La Bourgogne. Years later, after taking on several personal projects, he travelled to Spain in search of new culinary horizons. On the way he discovered the immense gastronomic potential of Mendoza and the region’s inexhaustible range of local produce waiting to be appreciated and explored. What started as a minor revelation soon became a passion that would spark a gastronomic revolution in Mendoza. Upon his return to the region, Sebastián set to work creating concepts, flavors and techniques until he arrived at Azafrán, which first opened back in 1999, and made it a leading light of the city’s haute cuisine.    

Info: Azafrán. Av. Sarmiento 765 – Tel.: (0261) 429-4200 – Mendoza.

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